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Cat helps Iris to see people in a new light

Tuesday October 21st 2014

A kitten is helping a young autistic girl to get over her fear of talking to other people.

And five-year-old Iris Grace Halmshaw's pet cat Thula has also been inspiring her artwork, some of which has even sold for an astonishing £1,500.

Autistic Iris, who has a gift for painting incredible, Monet-like landscapes, has become inseparable from Thula since getting her in February, and the two even have baths together.

Previous attempts to make Iris more communicative, including animal therapy involving dogs, horses plus other cats, have proven fruitless.

Her mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, says Thula's influence even extends to the girl's brush strokes. These now look like a cat's nose or eyes, she says.

Ms Carter-Johnson calls the cat "magical", claiming that she has cast a spell on Iris, adding that it is like they have known one another for ever.

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Copyright Press Association 2014